Hello writer! Happy end of the first week of 2016!
Has your holiday hang over ended yet?
Are you void of writing ideas? Even if you have time to write, just doing a stream of conscious dump text of writing for the day makes you recoil?
I hear you.
But let’s make this clear. You’re not “blocked”. There is no such thing as being “blocked”. Believing you’re “blocked” will only perpetuate your inability to write. So don’t say it because you’re not. You’re a creative being that is an open conduit to a creative source. You don’t “block” anything. You want the flow of words and ideas to come. (And I place quotes on the word “blocked” because “blocked” is a highly used word that is a supposed reason for not writing. Seriously. Lose that word. Screw that word.)
But sometimes we write and write and write for days, weeks and months – and like any worker who works hard – you need a break.
Yes, every regular worker takes a vacation to step away from the daily grind and replenish their energy. That includes the writer.
If you can’t find the motivation to write because you don’t want to sit still and think for an hour or two – or even ten minutes, then don’t beat yourself up over it. Use it. This is your time to explore the world for new ideas, for new visions and new words to express your story in ways no one else can.
Take a break, but take it with the knowledge that you’re going to return to the page.
Fill the void by reading books, seeing movies, seeing friends, traveling, sleeping, and living. Get out of your wordy, imaginative head.
And as you do these things, try to take down notes of what you’re feeling.
View the world from the perspective of a writer. Explore the senses. How does the book you’re reading make you feel? What do you see? Smell? Taste?
Do you want your reader to feel the same when they read your work? Do you want them to feel,see, smell and taste the same way?
What does that film or that online series you’re binge watching tell you about humanity? How can you infiltrate that creative energy toward the manuscript sitting all lonely on the shelf waiting for you to return?
Allow for quiet time. (If you can!)
Meditate on why you feel stumped.
Marinate on what is stopping you from even wanting to seek out writing prompts and goals. It tends to be a deep reason that goes beyond lack of time or just not feeling it. It could just mean you’re tank is empty and it’s time to fill up with super unleaded creative gas.
Is it Fear?
Fear is our enemy. I feel it everyday and battle it with Thor-like strength. But instead of swords, I use the mental technique of ignoring fear.
In a few weeks, and hopefully it won’t take longer than that, go back to your work. Or, go back to your exercise of daily journaling and see what you’ve got. You will likely come back refreshed with new ideas and outlook.
There is truth to the writer’s adage to always be writing. But sometimes, no matter what my personal writing gurus, Stephen Pressfield or Elizabeth Gilbert will say, taking a break from writing after a long year of dedicated work is needed.
Letting go of writing when you are empty is part of the process.
Putting it aside, and giving it a rest (like you would do with any paying job) allows you to step back and return with a better vision.
The only thing you have to do is make a commitment to this process and know you will return to face the page to write and write and write like a “motherf&*ker”, as the phenomenal Cheryl Strayed, aka ‘Sugar”, once wrote.
You didn’t think you were getting off THAT easy, did you? Yes, take a break, but you have to keep your promise to write. If you don’t, then your story – your words – your thoughts meant to go forth will never be read or heard.
Come on, don’t do that to us! We want to read you!
Take a breath.
January 12, 2016 at 12:24 am
I needed to write some encouragement like this since I’m facing some “blocks”. Thank you!